Set at the end of a 5-mile long peninsula, Cape Kidnappers is arguably one of the most scenic points found along the North Island’s rugged east coast. Despite being only 12 miles from the city of Napier this windswept promontory retains a rural feel where tractors and pastures trump the fast-paced reality of everyday city life.
This sandstone headland which erupts 370 feet out of the sea was named by Captain James Cook when a tribe of local Maori attempted to abduct a member of his crew here in 1769. Today the only ones doing the capturing at Cape Kidnappers are tourists trying to capture photos of the nesting gannets which migrate here all the way from Australia or as a frequent stop for those visiting New Zealand.
Visitors park their car in the nearby town of Clifton and enjoy a ride through scenic pastureland by way of passenger trains hooked up to massive tractors. Or, for those with a bit more time and a lot more energy, it’s also possible to visit Cape Kidnappers by way of a ten-mile coastal track which is accessible for only three hours on either side of the shifting low tide. For those wanting to couple a visit to Cape Kidnappers with a true marine experience, you can also visit Cape Kidnappers by way of hiring a kayak if the idea of mingling with fur seals and viewing the cliffs from the water sounds like the perfect way to experience the cape.
Lastly, for those looking to add a little sport to the scenery, Cape Kidnappers is also home to a golf course which frequently ranks as one of the top on the planet, although the course is a bit removed from the protected headland and nesting gannet sanctuary which share the same name.
Genuine in its beauty and refreshingly remote, Cape Kidnappers is the perfect Hawke’s Bay day trip for families from Auckland, birdwatchers, or simply anyone who enjoys the splendor of the great outdoors.